Seattle Photographer Daniel Berman | Seattle editorial photographer | (206) 387-3767 daniel@bermanphotos.com

Even More Snow

Posted in news, personal work, Washington by bermanphotos on December 24, 2008

Seattle has been experiencing record snowfall this season and I have been trying my best to document it. I have gotten enough of the scene in my little neighborhood, so I headed to downtown Seattle to hopefully photograph the people, the crowds, the congestion, and the season. I was not disappointed. But since the weather is so foul, I didn’t want to drive. This left me to take the metro into Seattle — a trip that normally takes 45 minutes — but after the normal bus did not arrive, I had to take 2 buses with a Seattle transfer to get there.

Oh well, it allowed me to make some pictures that I would not have been able to otherwise.

You always tend to attract attention taking pictures of every day objects and occurrences, but it is precisely there, in the ordinary, that sometimes interesting pictures can be made. One of the biggest story lines of this snow event in Seattle is that Metro has really dropped the ball on bus service. The buses that are running are almost all full to capacity, and many people are stranded in their homes thanks to a lack of service to their areas.

I made this picture of a bus that had a driver with a sense of humor: it reads, “No, I don’t know where your bus is.”
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I finally caught a bus that would let me transfer to another one and get to downtown. While waiting at the transit center near Seattle, I found an unlikely scene. Since the city is so wildly unprepared for this much continuous snow (we have gotten an inch or two every other day), we have not had garbage collection for about a week. I saw this ridiculous, nearly overflowing pile of garbage sitting next to one of the bus stops. I can’t believe someone would sit next to that pile — or worse, ignore it. Too bad I didn’t see anyone pulling their face back in disgust, that would have been interesting.

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Almost immediately after stepping off the bus in Seattle I heard sirens approaching nearby. Like any enterprising journalist, I wandered in the direction of those sirens. When I turned the corner a few blocks East, I found dozens of construction workers exiting a site quickly. I asked one of them what was going on, and they surmised a propane explosion on one of the upper floors. I like this scene a lot, all the repetition and the colors against the bright snow.

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They looked happy to be okay, or at least happy to be on a break from the job.

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Another big story line in Seattle is that many Greyhound busses have been stranded, and those that are running still in and out of town are hopelessly delayed. I headed to the downtown station where I found some pretty frustrated people.

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Continuing on, I found some people in downtown Seattle that caught my eye.
I liked the juxtaposition here between the woman with her back turned on her cellphone, and this poor guy on the bench at left. Christmas spirit, perhaps?

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It was getting dark and I decided to head home. But the hardest part would be just trying to catch a bus home at all. All the busses that were heading north were hopelessly overcapacity, and they did not even stop at my bus stop. When I say full, I mean standing room only, can’t fit a single extra person on board. Terrible. After 2 hours of standing in the cold waiting, I decided to just try and make the best of it, and make some pictures.

Here, some passengers return to the sidewalk after trying to get on a packed bus. There was no room, and all were turned away.

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I couldn’t overlook the irony of all these people waiting for the bus, many outside of this 3rd Avenue REI store, where the changing video displays sometimes pictured icicles hanging.

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Eventually I was able to get home, but not before close to 4 hours of waiting for the bus. Way to drop the ball Seattle Metro.

Hopefully this snow will melt soon, as the weather for this coming week is expected to be warmer — if you can call it that — about 35 degrees.

Thanks for looking at the images, any comments are welcome.

Daniel

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